23 Feb 2014 FUNKY FRUGAL: The 'Love Muffin Clubhouse'
by Tanner Cangelosi
Not long after we moved to beautiful Hot Springs, I met a lovely woman who takes being a grandmother very intentionally.
After spending some time with Beverly Sadowski, I decided that she is the type of grandma I want to be one day.
Beverly and her husband, Richard, built a clubhouse just for sleepovers with the grandkids. This tree house has rustic charm and creative elements that could only be achieved by thinking outside the box.
“I’ve always been fascinated by treehouses,” said Beverly. “In fact, one of my favorite little hide-outs when I was a child was in a tree. One Christmas, I thought about how much fun it would be to have a simple wooden box in a tree to spend the nights with my granddaughters. That’s how the ‘Love Muffin Clubhouse’ started.”
The Sadowskis and son, Tracy, did most of the work on the clubhouse. “We did hire a contractor to do some of the major framework and siding,” said Beverly. “The metal roofing was given to us by a wonderful friend, and he even installed it for me.”
All of the doors and windows for the clubhouse came from Habitat for Humanity. Beverly also shopped at flea markets and tried to use things around the house to help cut costs.
“The girls and I have sleepovers about once every two or three weeks,” said Beverly. “They love learning skills like cooking, cleaning and sewing to earn their badges to put in the journals they keep.”
Although the girls love playing games, doing crafts and watching movies in the clubhouse, they love sweeping, doing dishes and dusting almost as much. “Our meals are usually fairly simple, and often the girls help cook,” Beverly said. “Sometimes we even make a bonfire and make s’mores and hot dogs.”
The club consists of Beverly (the coach) and her granddaughters. “We started with the two oldest girls, then added a third granddaughter when she turned 3. In another year, our fourth granddaughter will be a member, too.”
Beverly shared several money-saving suggestions for building a playhouse/treehouse. “My top three money saving tips would be to use what you have whenever possible. A minnow bucket can be turned into a light fixture. Leftover material can be made into curtains. An ugly piece of furniture can be fantastic with a coat of paint and new drawer pulls or knobs.
Her second suggestion is to go to yard sales or second-hand stores to search for materials. “Habitat for Humanity is a great place to find light fixtures, doors and windows.”
Finally, she suggests doing as much of the labor as possible. “I even learned how to use Richard’s saws and nail guns to put up siding!” she said. “I did all of the painting inside the clubhouse. I also painted all of the furniture.”
No matter how much it cost, the memories are priceless. “I’m sure when the girls are old and gray they’ll still talk about the fun we had in the clubhouse,” said Beverly. “I don’t know who enjoys the sleepovers the most — me or the kids!”